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Insights and Updates from the Field: Status of Submerged Mussel Farm in Denmark

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Baltic Muppets partners Wittrup Seafood and Blue Research have been busy with the production and installment of mussel production units as part of the Danish pilot.

Wittrup Seafood –a well-established Danish company– specializes in cultivating, processing, and distributing blue mussels to thriving markets across France, BENELUX, Germany, and Scandinavia. Their products are supplied to wholesale, supermarkets, and catering. The company operates multiple long-line mussel farms in the Limfjord and the East Coast of Jutland. Recently, they have pioneered a revolutionary submerged mussel farming technology that offers several advantages, such as no visual effects and no negative effects of ice cover, allowing mussels to be unaffected by ice cover and to overwinter and continue growing, reaching the desired market size in the following season. Moreover, the submerged system is discreetly hidden from view, minimizing disruption to citizens and recreational areas, thereby garnering increasing support for mussel production. 

As part of the Baltic MUPPETS project, Wittrup Seafood together with Blue Research will establish a permanently submerged mussel farm with modules with nets on submerged pipes, optimize the production, and harvest the mussels using a harvester that can harvest the production modules below the water using advanced technology. 

Lines in place and ready to go! 

The activities in the field have started, by June 2023 all mussel production units are in the water. For this, Wittrup Seafood and Blue Research received support from a local contractor. In addition, over the summer, units installed in previous seasons –long-line systems– will be updated to be submerged too. 

Currently, all units are anchored at two production sites and are scheduled to be submerged in autumn. The plan is to submerge the 120 production units in 2023. Nevertheless, some challenges remain, such as ensuring the timely delivery of concrete blocks required for submerging the mussel units.

Spat collection

In blue mussel farming, a common method for spat collection is the passive collection of wild spat in the water at the time of mussel settlement. By the end of August, it will be possible to assess if the mussel settling is representative of a submerged system and if it is relevant to monitor the production in 2023. Additionally, throughout 2023, a monitoring system will be tested, for this mussel growth will be closely overseeing as well as the quality of mussels including the content of nitrogen and phosphorus. A manual will be developed and implemented in 2024. 

Stay tuned for more updates from the Danish pilot as well as from the other Baltic MUPPETS pilots. Learn more about them here